December 13, 2010

Twins select Braves left-hander Scott Diamond in Rule 5 draft

Overshadowed by the Twins trading J.J. Hardy to the Orioles last Thursday is that they also made a pick in the Rule 5 draft, taking 24-year-old left-hander Scott Diamond from the Braves. Undrafted out of a Canadian high school, Diamond signed with the Braves in 2007 for $50,000, which is the same price the Twins paid to select him. Despite being undrafted Diamond moved pretty quickly through Atlanta's system, reaching Triple-A in his third year as a pro.

He's had success at every level, posting ERAs of 3.08 at low Single-A, 2.79 at high Single-A, 3.51 at Double-A, and 3.36 at Triple-A. This year he made 17 starts at Double-A and 10 starts at Triple-A, posting a combined 3.46 ERA and 123-to-54 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 159 innings. Diamond's strikeout and walk rates have been mediocre, with 7.3 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per nine innings, but he's done a tremendous job inducing ground balls and limiting homers.

Diamond has served up a total of 19 homers in 442 career innings, including just 11 long balls in 290 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Not surprisingly he's also had a ground-ball rate above 50 percent at every level, suggesting he may be able to find success in the big leagues without missing a ton of bats. In order for the Twins to keep Diamond he must remain on the 25-man roster (or disabled list) for the entire 2011 season or he'll be offered back to Atlanta.

There are plenty of notable Rule 5 picks, including some guy named Johan Santana, but most of the time the players selected don't stick all year and are offered back to their original team. Diamond has a chance to stick, in part because he projects as a potentially useful pitcher and in part because the Twins have plenty of spots to settle in the bullpen. He could begin 2011 in a long relief role and perhaps get a chance to be a situational left-hander if things go well.

No players were plucked from the Twins in the big-league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which is good news since they left Kyle Waldrop unprotected despite back-to-back strong years after a move to the bullpen. Struggling down the stretch at Triple-A and getting knocked around in the Arizona Fall League may have scared teams off Waldrop, but the Twins' willingness to lose him and his lack of a 40-man roster spot could equal an uphill battle for a call-up in 2011.

In the Rule 5 draft's minor-league phase the Twins did lose three pitchers: Michael Allen, Jean Mijares, and Eliecer Cardenas. Very few players picked in the minors portion have gone on to have any sort of MLB career, with Brian Buscher actually ranking among the biggest success stories. Allen, Mijares, and Cardenas don't figure to be any different, as none ever cracked my annual list of the Twins' top 40 prospects and weren't in consideration for the 2011 version.

9 Comments »

  1. OH Great. Another guy who pitches to contact. The Twins a few more pitchers like that. How does the old saying go……the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well maybe ole Billy has never heard that one.

    Comment by Jacks — December 12, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

  2. Aaron: were the Twins really trying to trade for a SS that makes Punto look like Babe Ruth?

    I actually like taking a flyer on this guy for the bullpen. He’s basically insurance in case Duensing is a starter, isn’t he?

    Comment by mike wants WINS — December 13, 2010 @ 7:55 am

  3. Scouting report on Diamond:

    + Left Handed
    + Pulse

    = Roster worthy.

    Comment by pk — December 13, 2010 @ 8:28 am

  4. Jacks,

    You are complaining for the sake of complaining. Did you honestly think the Twins were going to find a top of the rotation starter or dominant late inning guy in the Rule 5 draft? You are not going to find those guys in the Rule 5 draft unless you win the lottery with a Johan Santana pick. Besides, Johan was best described as a work in progress for at least his first few seasons.

    Comment by mini_tb — December 13, 2010 @ 9:45 am

  5. The Rule 5 draft is probably the cheapest way to find out about a guy available for ML clubs. Are people really complaining that the Twins, who need bullpen help and are apparently working under tight budgetary constraints, paid $50,000 to find out whether Diamond can contribute out of the pen? Holy Moses.

    Comment by Ted — December 13, 2010 @ 9:56 am

  6. If this means we don’t have to see Glen Perkins, I am all for it!

    Comment by Nick — December 13, 2010 @ 11:18 am

  7. He’s worth a shot.

    Unless he’s a bust in spring training, then he can be the long-man out of the pen. Gardy likes having a long man – it’s like a security blanket, even though with 12 man pitching staffs, it’s not that necessary.

    Anyway, if he proves effective, I’m sure he’ll move up the food chain a bit, since he’s a lefty.

    Beats that dude we picked up from the Royals or somewhere. Who was he again?

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — December 13, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

  8. It was Randy Flores – and Colorado, not KC.

    Ron Mahay was from KC, but I was thinking of Flores.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — December 13, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

  9. Its really hard to get an all-star in the rule 5 but is possible. So no complaining right now. There has been Johan, Dan Uggla and Joakim Soria was also a Rule 5 pick. but nobody knows for sure thats why they are available to be picked. So stop complaining and if it means that perkins doesnt make the team and try and act like he is hurt after everytime he gets hit around then i am fine with the pick up

    Comment by Matt — February 18, 2011 @ 10:37 am

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